When Raymond James inked a $930 million deal to acquire Morgan Keegan’s brokerage earlier this month, it immediately sparked industry speculation as to whether Morgan Keegan’s financial advisor force would stay.

“As we all the know, the minute the deal is announced, the piranhas of the recruiting world are attacking from all directions,” Raymond James Executive Chairman Thomas James said during a conference call immediately following the deal’s announcement. “We’re very realistic in this regard, even though we believe that the financial advisors obviously don’t lose a thing from staying with us.”

(See: "Recruiters React to Raymond James - Morgan Keegan Deal" slide show.)

Raymond James announced this week that it has sent letters to Morgan Keegan’s 1,000-plus financial advisor force notifying them of retention offers. The firm said those retention offers will have five graduated levels. Financial advisors with less than $300,000 in gross production were excluded.

Ron Edde, a senior executive recruiter at Carlsbad, Calif.-based Armstrong Financial Group, said the top producing Morgan Keegan advisors he has spoken with are disappointed with the deal, with a payout that could total 70% for them. Other Morgan Keegan advisors falling in the middle, from $450,000 to $750,000, are pleased, he said.

Bobby Allison, president of executive search firm Allison Consulting Group in Memphis, Tenn., also said that the reaction from the Morgan Keegan advisors he has talked to has varied.

"It’s very mixed and it doesn't have a lot to do with the size of the deals they've been paid. There's some of that," Allison said. "The money is not really the big driving thing with these guys at Morgan Keegan."

Allison said he thinks some of those financial advisors may stay with the firm to remain under its protection as legal disputes from troubled funds it sold during the financial crisis continue. Other advisors have said they are not satisfied that the retention package considers advisors individually, Allison said, so that a $300,000 producing member of a $1 million team gets nothing.

One thing all the recruiters who On Wall Street spoke with agreed on one thing: Raymond James and Morgan Keegan are a cultural fit. Take a look at this interactive slideshow to read more on what those recruiters have to say.

Lorie Konish writes for On Wall Street.



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